Thursday, June 12, 2008

Colon Strong as Red Sox Beat Orioles 6-3

Bartolo Colon bounced back from a mediocre outing in his last start with a very nice outing last night. He needed 93 pitches to get through 6 innings, allowing only one run on a solo home run to Luke Scott to lead off the 5th inning. Otherwise, he held the Orioles in check all night, striking out 7 batters while only giving up 5 hits and 1 walk. Colon is now 4-1 for the Red Sox and it is becoming more and more apparent that Theo Epstein scored the steal of the off-season by having confidence that Colon would be able to bounce back from prior injuries and regain his Cy Young Award form. When we look back on the 2008 season, this may very well stand out as a key strategic move that put the Sox over the top.
Bartolo Colon
The Orioles had Garrett Olsen pitching last night, and Garrett is a tough starter. The Sox were fortunate that Olsen seemed to need an inning to get settled in. They took advantage of that, and quickly jumped on Olson, scoring 5 runs in the bottom of the first inning, before Olson settled down and held serve the rest of the way. In the 1st, Jacoby Ellsbury singled, stole second, and advanced to third on an errant throw. The red hot JD Drew wasted no time, and drilled a double to bring in Ellsbury. Manny Ramirez grounded out, moving Drew up to third base. Drew would score on a wild pitch for the second run of the inning. Olsen remained shaky, walking both Mike Lowell and Kevin Youkilis to set the stage for Jason Varitek, who hit a monster shot high over the Green Monster, giving the Sox an early 5-0 lead. Mike Lowell contributed the 6th run from a solo homer of his own in the 6th inning.
Jason Varitek
The win last night was well timed, as every other team in the AL East lost last night. So, when the leader told all the teams to take one step forward, only the Red Sox remembered to say, "Mother, may I?", and now hold a 2 game lead over the Tampa Bay Dirty Rays, and a 7 game lead over the rest of the division. Tonight, the Sox and Orioles wrap up their three game series with Jon Lester shooting for his 5th win of the season. I'll tell you right now, put this one in the win column.

Then, get ready for the National League. Tomorrow the Sox hit the road for 3 games in Cincinnati, where recent 500 home run hitter, Manny Ramirez, can mingle with recent 600 home run hitter, Ken Griffey, Jr. Then the Sox head to Philadelphia for 3 games. The timing of these NL road games is pretty good for the Sox. Interleague rules dictate that the rules of the home team are used. Therefore, there will be no designated hitter for the next 6 games. Well, wouldn't you know, our designated hitter is currently on the disabled list? So, we don't have to stress about whether to bench David Ortiz for a few games, or play him at first base. The only hope is that Manny Ramirez resolves his hamstring issues by then so that he can head back out to left field.

Meanwhile, Daisuke Matsuzaka is making good headway in his recovery from a shoulder strain. He's throwing aggressive side sessions, and the Sox will decide tomorrow on his next step, which could be a start in Pawtucket, or they could have him jump right back into the rotation, which I'd prefer them to do. He hasn't been out very long, and can probably contribute right away, providing the shoulder feels good. In this case, it might be prudent not to waste good innings in Pawtucket.

David Ortiz Becomes a U.S. CitizenOne final note. Please congratulate David Ortiz, who took the oath to become an American citizen yesterday at the JFK Library along with 226 other immigrants. Welcome to America Papi! Now, Papi has a few additional things to worry about, like who to vote for in November!

(Big Papi photo Courtesy of Boston.Com)
(Game Photos Courtesy of ESPN)


Suldog said...

Hey, that's neat! I didn't know about Papi taking the oath. Cool.

Rooster said...

It is - kind of surprised a lot of people!